The Dallas Cowboys are on the doorstep of a major shakeup on the offensive side of the ball. According to CBS Sports NFL writer Patrik Walker, the club is likely to release wide receiver Amari Cooper by the start of the new league year on March 16 if the veteran isn't willing to take a pay cut. This decision does appear to be driven, in part, by Cooper's contract. The veteran pass catcher is currently due $20 million in fully guaranteed money on the fifth day of the new league year on March 20. If Cooper is released, Dallas would not only get out of paying that but create $16 million in cap space this offseason as well.
Cooper originally joined the Cowboys in 2018 when he was traded to Dallas in a deal with the Raiders that sent a 2019 first-round pick to the then-Oakland squad. That selection ended up producing safety Johnathan Abram.
Upon arrival in Dallas, Cooper was an immediate boost to the offense, totaling 53 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns in just nine games played that season. The former Alabama product followed up that Cowboys debut with a 2019 season where he logged a career-high 1,189 yards receiving to go along with 79 receptions and eight scores. That ultimately helped Cooper ink a five-year, $100 million contract with the Cowboys in March of 2020 that paid him $60 million guaranteed ($40 million at signing).
This past season, Cooper hauled in 68 of his 104 targets for 865 yards and eight touchdowns. Despite not being able to extend his three-season streak of 1,000 yards receiving, Cooper should expect to have a sizable market whenever he is released by the Cowboys. Cooper will also be able to sign with a new team immediately, even if this release comes prior to the start of the new league year.
As for the Cowboys, the receiver position may now be a point of emphasis this offseason to find someone to pair alongside 2020 first-round pick CeeDee Lamb. Not only are they expected to move on from Cooper, but Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson are also slated to hit unrestricted free agency.